Thursday 1 March 2018

Spring Reads

Earlier this year, I was contacted by the lovely Megan Beatie from Megan Beatie Communications. Megan promotes some of the most exciting new titles in the YA world, so I was absolutely thrilled when she offered to send me some of the titles she is working on in exchange for an honest review. Despite difficulties in getting these titles to me which were outwith her control, she worked so hard to get these books to me, and I'm so grateful to her. Thank you Megan!

Megan is absolutely lovely and a pleasure to work with, so if you are interested in her services, you can find her website here

FTC: I received no compensation of any kind for these reviews, and all opinions are honest and my own. I'm always completely honest with you guys! I was simply sent these books in exchange for an honest review.
34964873Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

A can truly say, this is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, and a new favourite of mine. It's the story of the intertwining lives of three young people and how they affect each other. Marie Marquart creates real, captivating characters, and I loved Vivi, TJ and Angel.  They felt like real friends of mine , and the interactions between them were honest and raw and felt so real. I particularly loved Marquart's depictions of grief, anxiety and poverty through her characters. 

The story was believable and so raw. I loved the balance between flashbacks and current day scenes, and I was captivated by every single second. I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to ruin anything. But please, just read it. It's incredible.

This book tackled some extremely important topics, including immigration, mental illness, death and family troubles, whilst still managing to remain stunningly hopeful. I'm not someone who ever cries at books, but this one brought me to tears. 

My favourite feature was the beautiful illustrations and descriptions of birds preceding each chapter. It's no secret I'm a big bird fan (note the blog name and the fact that I'm studying to become an avian specialist), but I loved learning about all these gorgeous birds. The illustrations were stunning and I loved the way each decription connected with the following chapter.

I have no doubt that this will be my favourite book of the year and I can't praise it highly enough. If you only read one book this year, read this one.

35271018This evocative debut YA novel tells the story of Linden, a homeless teen secretly living in her high school. Together with her makeshift family of close friends, Linden struggles against the hardships of her past and begins to shape a bright future. Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven and Nicola Yoon, this is a stirring novel about overcoming all odds.


1. Prevent the in-class nap.
2. Never carry too many belongings.
3. Avoid looking the part.

Her rules guarantee no one discovers her secret–that she’s homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her best friends, Ham and Seung, have formed a makeshift family, and writing for her school’s blog prevents downtime. When you’re homeless, free time sucks. Despite everything Linden’s burdened with, she holds on to hope for a future and a maybe romance with Seung.

But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea’s life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay attention. And attention is the last thing Linden needs.

To put a stop to the violence, Linden must tell the story. Even if it breaks her rules for survival and jeopardizes the secrets she’s worked so hard to keep.

I've never read a book like this before, one that tackles homelessness so bravely. Linden was such an incredibly strong character, and I loved reading about her best friends, Ham and Seung. Although Linden doesn't have a biological family as such, a clear theme of the book was "friends as family", and this was certainly eye-opening to read about.

I feel like a learnt a huge amount about the hidden problem of homelessness in high schools whilst reading this, and I think it's a really important book, but personally this book was just too slow for me. I wasn't as invested in the story as I wanted to be, and towards the end I found myself skipping through the pages, wanting a final resolution without the middle of the story. I also wasn't a huge fan of the behavouir of some of the characters, which felt childish, but perhaps that was just in contrast to Linden since she was such a mature character.

Having said this, I feel that anyone who enjoys a bit of a slower, more character-driven contempary would really enjoy this one. I recommend it!

The Final SixWhen Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.

For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.

As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

Sci-fi is a favourite genre of mine, which means I'm extremely picky in what I read. But when I read the description of this one, I just knew I had to read it. A space race, diverse characters and a cutthroat competition - what more could you want in a YA sci-fi?

This was an extremely enjoyable read. Naomi and Leo are fun, likeable characters and their adventures and relationship were great fun to read about. I also really loved the family aspect to both of their stories.
The downside for me was that the whole concept was somehow unbelieable, I didn't truely believe that NASA would choose teenagers to explore one of Jupiter's moons. Whilst it was fun to read about, I couldn't quite suspend my disbelief enough to get into the story. I also felt that the romance, whilst cute to read about, came a little out of nowhere, and was very serious very quickly. Maybe this would be typical of a teenage relationship, but I just wanted to see them evolve a little more in their relationship. 

Still, if you're a fan of fast-paced space adventures like Illuminae and Warcross, I think you'll love this one. Give it a shot, I'd love to hear your thoughts.